Shoot vertical or horizontal? How far in advance do we pre-announce Facebook live sessions? What length video is best? Author expert Greg Jarboe agreed to be interviewed by OMCP on best practices for video marketing for Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
The OMCP Online Marketing Best Practices Podcast is where top authors and industry leaders share authoritative best practices in online marketing which are covered by the OMCP standard, competencies, and exams. This is an OMCP pilot program that may continue based on member interest and support. Stay subscribed to the OMCP newsletter to get new episodes.
Episode #6 covers Content Marketing Video Optimization on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat with Greg Jarboe in 27 minutes. Recorded November 21, 2016.
Transcript of Episode 6: Video Marketing on Twitter, Facebook, and Snapchat
Michael: All right! Welcome back to the OMCP Studio and With us today is Greg Jarboe, published author, columnist, speaker, instructor at Market Motive, instructor at Rutgers University, and President of SEO-PR, Greg is a master of video marketing and content marketing practices, teaching these to some of the largest brands in the world. I’m your host, Michael Stebbins and today we’ll be discussing Content Marketing Strategies for Video Sharing Channels PART TWO . Greg, welcome back to the OMCP Best Practices Podcast. Thanks so much for joining us again.
Greg: Well, Michael thank you for having me back. Does that mean I passed the audition?
Michael: You passed the audition and we are having follow ups; callbacks occur in a few weeks. But, I have a funny feeling you’ll make it.
Michael: Greg, as I mentioned in our last podcast. You and I have worked together for over a decade; we’ve taught together a few times. I have some fun memories of that. I’ve seen you at the podium as an authority and industry conferences for years.
In the second session, we’re going to get down to the best practices for video sharing specifically on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. But, just as a matter of introduction Greg, there are some who haven’t read your books, there are some who haven’t attended your classes or heard you speak. Just take a moment, tell our audience who are you, and what it is that you do?
Greg: Well, as you sort of noted in my thumbnail bio, I have a checkered background. I’ve done a lot of things. Among the things that I’ve done is written a couple of books “YouTube and Video Marketing” first edition came out in 2009, second edition 2011. I also blog for a couple of sites, one of them is called Tubular Insights. It used to be known as ReelSEO, but they changed their name about a year ago. And the other place I blog for is called The SEM Post, S-E-M as for Search Engine Marketing. And I write in both of those places about video.
And part of the reason why I blog once or twice a week, and I haven’t written a new version of my book since 2011, is things change too rapidly. And I would strongly urge people not to buy my 2011 book because it is woefully out of date. Things just happen too quickly in this industry. And part of the subject that we’re going to be tackling today frankly, hasn’t been tackled before.
Michael: And I love that you’re willing to update through podcasts, folks can follow you on Twitter at which address Greg?
Greg: @GregJarboe, so G-R-E-G J-A-R-B-O-E.
Michael: Yes, and I love your updates as well on Facebook, we can learn quite about influencer marketing through your recent updates. I love some of the stats you’ve put on. But, today I know that we’re covering strategy and best practices for content and video marketing. Since you’re considered an authority on the process, let’s start by looking at best practices for video on Facebook. And Greg, if you wanna preface and remind us that the strategies and best practices are different per channel. I’m open to that too, so over to you.
Best Practices for Facebook Video Sharing
Greg: Yes this is part two. Part one we looked specifically at YouTube, and it is the right place to start. But if YouTube is the right place to start, these days there’s a lot of other places that you ought to look at 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th etc. One of them obviously, is Facebook. Facebook made a serious effort to get into video a couple of years ago, and now is doing a lot rapidly and if you aren’t uploading video natively to Facebook. You’re missing a real significant opportunity. And the other thing that you need to do is understand that unlike YouTube where an audience can hear about your video and then go search for it later. A YouTube search is just not a way people really discover videos, so your shelf life in Facebook is going to be a lot shorter. We see that the average video in Facebook for example peaks in about 24 hours. And compared to let’s say YouTube it peaks over basically, the first three days. So again you know get your running shoes on because Facebook works at a whole different pace.
Michael: Now, what are some of the best practices in terms of…And we’re not talking Facebook Live just yet, we’re going to get to that. What are the some of the best practices in using Facebook in terms of uploading our videos?
Greg: Well, some are classics. So for example, if you’re going to upload video content directly to Facebook, make sure that the first frame actually looks good because most people are gonna see your video and not hear it. The audio is not turned on until a user basically decides to turn the video on. So again, your imagery and sometimes your subtitles, or titles are crucial to basically let people know that this is a video worth watching. And then of course, you wanna make it interesting, and worth watching. And at least currently, the video on Facebook can probably be a little shorter than the video on YouTube.
…your imagery and sometimes your subtitles, or titles are crucial to basically let people know that this is a video worth watching.
We find that about 90 seconds is the right sweet spot on Facebook. And again, that number is subject to change, but that seems to be right at this point. And then you can engage your viewers by adding calls to action in Facebook, so that’s worth thinking about. You can tag other pages in your video posts on Facebook. So do that.
And last but not least Facebook gives you something called Video Insights. So you get some data on the people who’s watched your video, particularly whether they watch 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% etc. And that’s worth watching because it can teach you what worked, what didn’t, so that your next video can be better.
Michael: Greg, before we jump onto Facebook Live when you say, ‘A call to action.’ Are you talking about in the body of the text of the post you’re talking about in the video, both, what are some examples?
Greg: Well, you can actually do it both ways. So in some respects you know if you have somebody speaking, yes, the person on camera can tell you, “Here’s what I want you to do next.” But you can also put that call to action in the post that, that video is going to be embedded in. So that people, if you want them just to share it, that’s fine. But if you actually want them to let’s say visit your website, Facebook video can allow you to put that kind of link, so that you can drive traffic to your website. If that’s your goal and objective.
Michael: Right on. All right, Facebook Live.
Best Practices for Facebook Live Video Marketing
Greg: Now, last summer Facebook realized that they had a strategic opportunity. And although there has been a version of YouTube Live around for almost six years now. It was an industrial strength, live capability. And you might use it if you were going to have the royal wedding for example. But it wasn’t something that was easy to use casually. So Facebook saw this as an opportunity, jumped on it with both feet, and has been making a huge push to encourage people to just broadcast live. In fact, I’ve even seen television commercials or Facebook is promoting live. So they are going all out to try to capture the space.
Now, they rolled it out strategically by using celebrities first, which was smart because unlike you or me celebrities have a built-in audience that wanna see everything they do you know from having breakfast to visiting their friends. But if most of us who are going to use this for marketing purposes don’t have that kind of built-in celebrity advantage, then the one strategic thing you’ve got to do right upfront to make Facebook Live work for you, is let people know ahead of time that you’re gonna have a broadcast. You need to build an audience. That has to be a serious component of your plan.
- Let audience know far in advance
- Ensure a strong signal before broadcast
- Engage viewers while live
And you also need to make sure that you have a strong signal before you go live. That has bitten some pretty interesting people over the years, when the signal faded out and they had to fall back to some other alternative. You wanna write a compelling description to let again, people know why it is that they might wanna take time in their schedule to come watch your video. And while you are broadcasting live it’s okay to ask your video viewers to follow you, so that they’ll receive notifications the next time you go live. In other words, you wanna begin building in that audience.
You can also engage them in a variety of ways including when they comment during a live broadcast, respond to selected comments by name. In other words, you don’t have to respond to everything but pick a couple out and that will keep everybody excited and interested. And that means that you can avoid the trolls. And last but not least, and this is a sort of surprise particularly after I mentioned that 90 seconds is about the right time for a pre-produced video on Facebook. With Live you wanna go longer. You might wanna go as much as 10 minutes, and why is that? Because after you’ve gone live people will tell their friends, “Hey, come check this out.” And if you’re only broadcasting live for a short period of time you don’t get that extra audience joining in.
Michael: Love it. And that’s a great medium right now, I love the idea of letting people know ahead of time. About how much time do we give people, a few hours, a few days, or both?
Greg: Oh, it depends on your audience. So we tend to be neurotic about this and do both. We let them know a couple days in advance and then we remind them the morning of. So you know it’s like anything, people don’t have schedules that they can put in their calendar a week in advance. So you got to prompt them, and remind them, and then hope that something extraordinary doesn’t happen that morning like it always happens that morning.
Best Practices for Short Videos in Twitter and Instagram
Michael: Greg, as we’re seeing some shifts right now in short video formats, between the changes in Vine, some of the migration to Snapchat, some of the usage of Instagram growing as they address that. What are some best practices that we can employ for the short video format?
Greg: Well, the first thing to understand is that Vine is dead. I mean, I’m sorry, it’s gone. They announced that there was gonna be some kind of life support system, but the life support system is really only for archiving purposes. Everyone’s given up on Vine, Vine’s gone. It’s over. And that little 6-minute format or 6-second looping format that they created seems to have pretty much gone along with it. I’ve seen Instagram videos use looping. I just saw a Super Bowl commercial from Mr. Clean which has been looped on Facebook. So in some cases the looping capability has been picked up, but the 6-second format is dead as a doormat, doornail. Whatever the metaphor is, it’s gone.
Michael: [Laughs] Rest in peace
Greg: So it was an interesting experiment. If you want to create short videos, create short videos but create them wherever you want to. Is there something magic about a 6-second format, turns out, not really.
Michael: Okay, fair enough. If we’re talking about Twitter picking some of this up. Let’s go over some of the best practices for putting videos up on Twitter. What have you seen, what do we do?
Greg: Well, Twitter, interestingly enough has two horses that it’s trying to ride in this race. And it’s unclear how smart a strategy that is, but one of them is Periscope. And it was there before Facebook Live, but I think Facebook Live came on strong because they figured if the only thing standing between us and fame and fortune is Twitter, we can push those guys over. So a lot of the best practices for Periscope are very similar to the ones that I outlined for Facebook Live.
But it turns out Twitter has also adopted a native video option. You can upload videos to Twitter directly. They can only be 140 seconds long, why? Because they have 140-character limit, so they arbitrarily created 140-second limit. Well, that’s longer than the 6-second Vine capability, but it’s still fairly short. And it turns out, it forces you to think about what it is that’s gonna be important. And I would say one of the surprises that I’ve seen is that a number of people who we thought once Vine was dead were gonna give up and move on to some other platform. The quote “Other platform” many of them have moved on to is Twitter.
So you know, check it out if you haven’t tried it. Twitter’s not dead yet, and pay no attention to their quarterly earnings because those could be temporary. They’ve signed some deals with the Major League Baseball and NFL and you know it’s a space to watch an experiment in. So it ought to be on your list right after YouTube and Facebook.
Michael: Okay. And then, any specifics for the videos themselves or the process that are specific to the Twitter users?
Greg: Sure. One of the things that you’re gonna want to pay attention to is…because of the format limitations, you’re going to wanna think about telling your story in a succinct way. And the other thing that you need to do is recognize that hash tags play a much more important role on Twitter than they do in other places in terms of having people find your content. So you need to pay attention about using those, either in your title or in your description.
…hash tags play a much more important role on Twitter than they do in other places…
And then, think about this for a second. Ninety percent of Twitter users are gonna watch Twitter on a smartphone. In other words, Twitter is not really a desktop…you can access it from your desktop, but that’s not normally how people use it. And if they’re watching their Twitter video from a smartphone, then you may wanna borrow a few lessons from the folks at Snapchat and make sure that your video is shot vertically. Because more of the image is going to show up in your smartphone, if you shoot horizontally in what is called landscape mode, then the video sort of shrinks down to fit on the smartphone screen. And boy, you had better have something be really clear what’s going on when you basically are gonna play it in that format. And the smart way around that kind of limitation is to shoot the video vertically in the first place.
Michael: Okay, excellent. All right, last on our list is creating video snaps and stories for Snapchat. What are some of the best practices we need to know?
Best Practices for Snapchat Video Marketing
Greg: Yes, a lot of people freak out about Snapchat because ‘my God isn’t gonna disappear in 24 hours, if it’s a Snapchat story?’ And the answer is, yes, how fast do you think things disappear when you watch them on television. I mean, when they’ve played they’re over you know you can’t roll back. Well, unless you’re using digital to record your commercials. But let’s put it this way you know don’t get hung up on the fact that Snapchat is ephemeral. You still have a chance to communicate. You may be communicating in a narrow window but that’s okay, just stay focused. You’re gonna be talking about something that is yesterday’s news, tomorrow. But that’s all right. So make sure that your snaps are brief. And by brief 1 to 2 minutes long is about right. Make sure that when you have a new video, you also include a snap, a photo, when you have a new story so that people who are looking at one can find the other.
When you are doing your video for Snapchat, talk directly into the camera. That’s the format, that’s what it’s about. It’s not, “Here let me show you the scenario that I’m…” It’s, talk to it. People wanna see your face. Again, as I mentioned, with Twitter you’re gonna want to embrace the vertical format. You know, it’s called portrait mode or it’s called vertical video, whatever. Snapchat has done a lot of research on this and it just works a whole lot better if that’s the way you shoot the video. You wanna be very clear if you include some text with your video that you need to have contrast, so that means you’re gonna have to have dark if you’ve got a white background, or you’re gonna have to have a light text if you’ve got a dark background. But make it as you know dramatically different as possible. It helps if you use natural light, and if that natural light can come in from the side as opposed to into your eyes. or over your shoulder.
- Talk directly to the camera
- Shoot in vertical format when the medium plays back in vertical format
- Use high contrast font to background colors when including text in video
You might want to prepare an editorial calendar even if you are shooting your snaps daily. You certainly wanna plan maybe the week in advance. And you may be able to you know come up with some stories that just have legs. I’ve seen some really effective things where people go to big trade shows like CES and you know, “Here is day one at the show, here is day two at the show, here is day three at the show. And oh, I got a day four. Okay, let’s wrap up and conclude.” But nevertheless, you know that’s planning in advance. You wanna be responsive obviously, to people. But it turns out that Snapchat works really well with influencers. So think about those people in your audience who have audiences of their own. And last but not least, it’s way too early to say that you can lock up all of these rules and you know engrave them in stone. Experiment, experiment, experiment you know it’s snap…Snapchat is still relatively new. And I don’t think all the success processes have been invented yet.
Michael: Greg, when you say, “Be responsive to influencers” what does that look like? Does that mean I…How do I do that?
Greg: Well, it is market dependent. So if I’m dealing with a higher education audience I’m gonna have a whole different set of influencers, than if I’m going after a high-tech audience that loves gizmos, okay? Different influencers for different categories. But it turns out, know who they are, if…Oh let’s just pick somebody we know, Matt Bailey, okay?
Michael: We know Matt.
Greg: We know Matt, okay. If Matt turns up and makes a funny face, recognize that Matt has a huge audience and he’s worth shouting out to, and inviting to do some kind of collaborative effort together. You know, Matt’s not just your random person who sort of walked across the set. So understand that and realize that particularly in social media, if you know who those influencers are in advance you can leverage that to your advantage.
Michael: Okay, and I know that works for Twitter as well. Because Greg these have been really good practices for us and many of them will be on the exams for OMCP candidates. Any final guidelines that apply to most or all of these channels?
Different Channels Have Different Strengths for Each Campaign
Greg: Yes, and it comes from a very strange place. My wife and I went to Southern France last fall. And we went to Arras which is, Once Upon a Time was the provincial capital of Gaul during the Roman Empire. And you’re gonna say, “Excuse me. What does this have to do with video?” Well, here’s what I saw on Arras. They had a chariot circus you know where the chariot races were held.
Greg: They had a theater, you know. And so, “Okay, fine.” People watched plays back then. And they also had an amphitheater in addition to those other two where they could watch Gladiatorial games, okay? And what struck me is here we are 2,000 years ago, in this little provincial capital of Rome, didn’t have one, didn’t have two, it had three different places for three different ways that the audience at that time could be entertained.
So my last lesson to all of you is this, don’t try to pick winners. Don’t assume that I’m gonna put all my eggs in one basket because I have a hunch that, that’s gonna be the one that survives. What you really need to do is understand that they can all last simultaneously as they did in Arras for 500 years, packing in audiences. And so learn that, “Yeah, I got to do things different ways and different places in order to be successful,” but learn those ways. You’re gonna have to master multiple video formats for your career to take off.
Michael: It’s the famous Indiana Jones scene during the sword fight where he just decides that channel’s not working.
Greg: Or heaven forbid, the funders of the organization pull the plug in it like they did on Vine. You don’t wanna be the only you know person on your block who, “I used to be a Vine star.” It’s like you know, “Yeah, great. What are you doing for work now?”
Michael: Right channel for the right message, I love it. Okay. Well, that’s all the time we have today. And a big thank you to you Greg Jarboe. Check out Greg’s writing at ReelSEO (Tubular Insights). Click Z, The SEM Post a Momentology. Greg, what’s the new name for ReelSEO?
Greg: It is Tubular Insights.
Michael: Tubular Insights, that’s right. And be sure NOT to pick up Greg’s book, “YouTube Marketing Video.”
Greg: Old, old, old, out of date. It’s so old actually, Chapter one is still not out of date because, Chapter one is quote, “A short history of YouTube” and at least that early portion of YouTube. They haven’t changed the history yet.
Michael: They haven’t gone back and rewritten.
Greg: But everything beyond Chapter one… you know give it up…skip right over.
Michael: It’s changed too quickly. So in order to make up for that make sure and attend Greg’s talks, follow him on Twitter @GregJarboe. And you can also reach out to SEO-PR at http://www.SEO-PR.com to have Greg’s team assess your practices in video and content and influencer marketing. And I know that many organizations including some that I was involved in the past have benefited from Greg and his team’s input.